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STYLE, ART, CULTURE, + EVENTS OF THE SOUTH VALLEY JULY 2017

FOODIE ISSUE

LIFESTYLE FOODIE

SIP

TRAVELER'S TREK

A LOCAVORE'S PARADISE

GARDEN TO GLASS

TUSCANY

ECRWSS RESIDENTIAL CUSTOMER LOCAL

ECRWSS PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID PORTLAND OR PERMIT NO. 2160


IN THE

Central Valley

Ceramic & Porcelain Tile | Glass Mosaics Pre-Fabricated Granite/Quartz Countertops | Wood Look Porcelain Tile | Large Format Tile | Large in Stock Tile & Material Selection


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LOCAL ADVENTURE

LIFESTYLE FOODIE

CENTRAL VALLEY WINE TRAIL

A LOCAVORE’S PARADISE

A Wine Weekend Close to Home

A Backyard Revolution of Authentic Bounty

Take this wine map with you as you explore the South Central Valley’s wine tasting scene.

GARDEN TO GLASS Public House Downstairs (PhD) PhD bartender Brian Kaufman creates fi ve farm-to-glass cocktails using fresh, local ingredients.

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10 WordPlay

Mearle’s—The Hamburger Joint that was Frozen in Time 18 Charity: Guest Chef Series—A Gourmet Gathering In Support of Family Services 42 Community: Growing Community at Visalia’s Demonstration Garden 46 Hidden Gem: Coastal Crave—Delicious Eats Along the Central Coast 48 Local: Seasons Eatings—A Guide to Produce by the Seasons

TRAVELER’S TREK

52 Trend: Meal Prep—A Healthy Trend

TUSCANY

56 Events: Foodie-Vent—A Year-long

A Visual and Culinary Feast Travel writer Cheryl Levitan takes us on a food journey through the streets of Tuscany.

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8 Letter from the Executive Editor

12 Refl ections of Visalia:

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Guide to Local Foodie Events 58 Happenings COVER: Historic Seven Sycamores Ranch was the ideal backdrop for the cover of Lifestyle’s annual Foodie Issue, which celebrates the local producers and restaurants that make Tulare County thrive. Food staging, design, and photography by the talented Lori Rice. TOP: Fresh ingredients at Tazzaria. Photo by Danny Klorman Photography.


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Executive Editor Assistant Editor Creative Director Art Director Senior Designer Web Designer/Designer Contributing Writers

Business Management

Operations Manager Advertising Sales

Sales Office

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DMI Agency 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 Karen Tellalian Kelly Lapadula Greg Bitney Marcie Vagnino Chris Bly Kaci Hansen Aaron Collins Brian Kaufman Cheryle Levitan Diane Slocum Lauren Evangelho Lisa McEwen Mohammed Bash Sue Burns Terry L. Ommen Trisha Dean Malkasian Accountancy LLP Gary Malkasian CPA Jeffrey Malkasian EA Maria Gaston Melissa Olson Melissa@DMIAgency.com 801 W. Main St. Visalia, CA 93291 559.739.1747 • Fax 559.738.0909 Lifestyle@DMIAgency.com www.VisaliaLifestyle.com Issuu.com/LifestyleMagazine Facebook.com/LifestyleMag Instagram: visalialifestyle

RACK LOCATIONS DMI Agency Evolutions Fitness Center, Tulare

Exeter Chamber of Commerce Tazzaria Coffee & Tea The Lifestyle Center

Visalia Chamber of Commerce Visalia Convention Center

COUNTERTOP LOCATIONS 210 Cafe AMCC Arts Consortium Arts Visalia Ashoori & Co. Jewelers Blend WIne Room Bravo Farms Smokehouse Café 225 Chad Clark Hair Salon Charcuterie Chelsea Street Boutique Citizen's Bank CreekSide Day Spa Skin & Laser Center Downtown Visalia Alliance Ed Dena Auto Center, Visalia Exeter Chamber of Commerce

For Such a Time Boutique Franey's Design Center Fugazzis Glick's and Co. ImagineU Children’s Museum Janeen’s Furniture Gallery Kaweah Delta Hospital Keller Williams Reality Max's Cookies Metropolis Day Spa Michael's Custom Jewelry Monét’s, Exeter Pacific Treasures Premier Medical Clinic Renaissance Salon Sage Salon Salon 525

Sherman & Associates Tazz. Coffee The Gardens at Cal Turf The Looking Glass V Medical Spa Velvet Sky Visalia Ceramic Tile Visalia First Assembly Visalia Fox Theatre Visalia Marriott Visalia Medical Clinic Watson's Wildflower Café, Exeter Williams, Brodersen & Pritchett, Attorneys at Law Windows Plus, Inc. Wyndham Hotel

Visalia Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and is distributed via direct mail to nearly 13,000 homes in the upper-middle and high-income neighborhoods in Visalia. An additional 2,500 copies are distributed at various distribution points around Visalia, Tulare, and Exeter. Views expressed in columns are those of the columnist and not necessarily those of DMI Agency or its advertisers. Circulation of this issue: 15,500 © 2017 DMI Agency

Bari Olive Oil Co. distributes products throughout Tulare County and beyond. Photo by Aimee Sa Photography. 6 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7


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W

FR O M TH E

EDITOR

e hope you all had a terrific time celebrating the freedoms we have as Americans, and we trust everyone obeyed the firework laws. Although our family’s 4th of July proved to be fairly uneventful, I cannot say the same for the weekend prior. It started on Saturday, when my friend Darlene and I planned a hiking trip in our beautiful Sequoias. On our way up, we found ourselves sitting in a long line of traffic to get into the park, so we instead decided to spend a leisurely afternoon having lunch and enjoying the gorgeous view of the river. Sitting outside on a deck, soon a raft filled with adventure-

hear our guide in the distance yelling for me to swim to the boat. Soon I heard another voice pierce the air, telling me to hang on. Suddenly, a girl about half my size grabbed me by the vest, yanking me into the boat. Alas, I had been rescued. My heart rate through roof, it was minutes before I could even tell them I was okay. But, I was okay. Later, as I was recalling the details in my head, it occurred to me that although this experience had threatened my physical safety, there are times in business that we are, or feel, threatened in other ways. Fears about our reputations, our livelihoods,

We hope you are all delighted with Lifestyle Magazine this month—our second annual “Foodie Issue.” This special feature focuses on Tulare County as the breadbasket of the world, as well as the chefs and restaurateurs who take extra care in selecting and preparing dishes using locally sourced ingredients. We appreciate them and we are sure you do too. Bon Appétit! E X E C U T I V E

E D I T O R

K A R E N

T E L L A L I A N

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT A STORY IDEA, CONTACT ME AT KAREN@DMIAGENCY.COM

seekers glided by. That is when it started. “We should do that,” said Darlene. “You’re crazy,” I replied. Less than 30 minutes later, we were booking a white water rafting excursion for the following day. Geared up with life vests and helmets, five of us novices headed downstream with our experienced guide. Taking on the rapids one-by-one, we clicked our oars in the air after each successful landing. As we approached the last rapid, we were informed it was the biggest one of the day. It was absolutely exhilarating, right up until we slammed into a tree that sent both Darlene and me into the river. I swirled and swirled underwater for what seemed like minutes…long enough to question if I’d ever come up. But I remembered some valuable information the guide gave us: “If all else fails, float—the life vest is meant to keep your head above water. Do not try and stand up, and whatever you do, don’t grab onto a tree.” While I was in the water, I could barely 8 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

or our way of doing things can leave business owners and managers feeling alone in racing, icy waters. Most of us have plans in place, and we’ve had advice from others who have gone down this road before; it’s just not easy to hear their words when you feel like you’re drowning. This experience also made me realize there are some instances when it is okay to let someone else do the heavy lifting. While they might seem like the most unlikely person to come to your rescue, they are there for you, and given the opportunity and circumstance, might just surprise you. We hope you are all delighted with Lifestyle Magazine this month—our second annual “Foodie Issue.” This special feature focuses on Tulare County as the breadbasket of the world, as well as the chefs and restaurateurs who take extra care in selecting and preparing dishes using locally sourced ingredients. We appreciate them and we are sure you do too. Bon Appétit!


FUELING FOR THE GREATER GOOD.


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S L O C U M

WO R D PLAY News on writing, books + the world of publishing

S

ummer is supposed to be a carefree time for kids as they take a holiday from their schooling. But some children in recent debut novels find that their troubles don’t take a holiday. In school or out, Dixie Dupree can’t seem to get a break. In The Education of Dixie Dupree (Kensington, Oct. 2016) by Donna Everhart, Dixie has a reputation as a liar, her mother nearly chokes her to death, and her father has some unknown terrible thing happen to him. But the worst things occur after Uncle Ray comes to stay with them and Dixie has to try to sort everything out on her own. Like Dixie, Elvis Babbitt in Rabbit Cake (Tin House Books, March 2017) by Annie Hartnett, is precocious, but does not get respect at school. Her mother dies while sleep swimming and Elvis is not convinced it is an accident. She sets out to learn what really happened and encounters many oddities along the way. She also has to try to keep her older sister from harming herself and others as she sleep walks, sleep cooks, and sleep eats herself into hazards places. The Impossible Fortress (Simon & Schuster, February 2017), by Jason Rekulak, is the name of a video game Billy hopes to turn into a winning entry in a contest sponsored by a popular company. Billy teams up with Mary, a Commodore 64 programming whiz (this is in 1987), but his friends Alf and Clark are only interested in a scheme to steal a copy of Vanna White’s Playboy issue from Mary’s father’s store. The scheme snowballs and unravels as Billy is swept along trying to keep the incompatible goals on track. VALLEY WRITERS Randa Jarrar will be featured at the Respite by the River on August 10. The 10 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

program begins at 6 p.m. with music

WRITERS CONFERENCES

by Ryan Gregory Tallman, followed by

The 2017 Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference will be held in Corte Madera (just north of San Francisco) on Sept. 7-10. The conference plans to cover everything mystery writers need to know, from developing ideas to publishing. Cara Black, Hallie Ephron, and Otto Penzler are just three of the 21 faculty members announced so far. Editors, agents, publishers, authors, detectives, forensic experts, and police share their expertise. Basic price is $550. Each consultation adds $95. Details at: bookpassage.com/ mystery-writers-conference. The Hampton Roads Writers 9th Annual Conference will be held Sept. 14-16 in Virginia Beach, VA. An optional Writers Bootcamp is offered on Thursday afternoon for an additional fee. A total of 60 workshops are planned. Other opportunities include two first ten-line critique sessions, tenminute agent and/or publisher pitches, cash prize writing contests, and a two-hour open mic. Featured speakers will be John DeDakis and Austin Camacho. Fee is $265 for non-members. Details at: hamptonroadswriters. org/2017conference.php.

Jarrar’s presentation at 7 p.m. Jarrar was born in Chicago to Egyptian/Greek/ Palestinian parents but grew up in Kuwait and Egypt. After the Gulf War, the family returned to the U.S. She teaches creative writing at Fresno State and her books are A Map of Home (winner of a Hopwood Award) and Him, Me, Muhammad Ali. She has also published in The New York Times Magazine, The Utne Reader, and many others. Details at: riverparkway.org.

WRITING CONTEST Marina Zenovich, who grew up in Fresno and is the daughter of the late State Senator George Zenovich, is an Emmy-winning director of documentary films. Her latest powerful program concerns the Central Valley and its water. Water and Power: A California Heist aired on the National Geographic Channel. The program describes how

The deadline for the Miami University Novella Prize is Oct. 15. The judge will be TaraShea Nesbit. Length must be between 18,000 and 40,000 words. Winner receives $750, a standard contract, publication, and 50 copies of the book. Previously published works are not eligible. Reading fee is $25. Details at: orgs.miamioh.edu/mupress/novella/.

a few wealthy landowners gained

THE LAST WORD

control of large quantities of the state’s

“Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.” – Harper Lee (1926-2016)

valuable water. One of Zenovich’s contacts was Mark Arax, a fellow valley native and writer of water issues.


MEARLE'S

THE HAMBURGER JOINT THAT WAS FROZEN IN TIME

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or decades the restaurant was known for its good food, friendly service, and special atmosphere, all dished out in heaping portions from a building across from the College of the Sequoias. One fan affectionately called the drive-in a “hamburger joint frozen in time.” Unfortunately, the popular eatery is gone, but the building remains as a reminder to us all that the classic Visalia business, known as Mearle’s, left its mark

in Visalia history. The idea to build the restaurant had its beginning with the decision to construct the new Visalia Junior College campus. As Fresno professional boxer, Ralph Giordano, fighting as “Young Corbett III,” was looking for a business opportunity, he was attracted by the idea of a restaurant near the new college. But in the late 1930s, he gave up the idea and instead contacted his T EXT

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friend and occasional-sparring partner, Dick Beshwate, and encouraged him to start it. In 1939, Dick and his two brothers, Abe and Ted, left for Visalia on their path to become restaurateurs. They contacted Edwards Realty about the “barley field” across from the college, and soon the brothers and Edwards Investment Co. had a plan to build the drive-in on the corner of the Tulare-Visalia Highway (now

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Classic cars gather at Mearle's Drive-In, circa 1991. Photographed by Lucinda Lewis.


Mooney Blvd.) and Myrtle Ave. In June 1939, a building permit was issued to general contractor L.C. Clark for construction of a $5,000 “commercial building” on lots 10 and 11, block 3, in Byfield Park Tract #3. During construction, the three brothers lived in the Palace Hotel, and it was there they came up with the name TAD’S for their restaurant, using the first initials of each of their names (Ted, Abe, and Dick). On Sept. 27, 1940, the brothers announced the official opening of TAD’S. Its style was “streamline moderne” with a beautiful blue and white canvas awning wrapped around it and an electrifying neon ice cream soda glass mounted on top. It had drive-up service outside with modern booths and counter service inside. The menu offered complete dinners including steak, chicken, and chops from 65 to 85 cents, and fountain service for milkshakes, sodas, and malts. The three brothers worked at the restaurant along with their sisters Margarite, Violet, and Maidelle. Louise Gillingham, a non-family member, was hired as a carhop, and employment soon turned into love as she and Dick married in 1942. As the U. S. entered World War II, all three brothers went off to fight, leaving the sisters and Louise to operate the fledgling business. When the war ended, the three brothers returned to Visalia, but family interest in the restaurant had waned. One regular customer, A. J. “Joe” Heston, expressed interest in owning the business. In 1946 the Beshwates sold it to him and it became D’S. It didn’t last long, however, and in 1947 the restaurant changed hands again. Millard Brame and his wife took over and it became the Visalia Drive-In. Not only did the Brame’s work in the restaurant, they lived in the basement of

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the building. They ran it for about three years before it closed, and the building sat vacant for the next year. In 1951, George Nielsen, the founder of Nielsen’s Creamery in Tulare, and his son-in-law, Chase Hoffman, reopened the drive-in as “Nielsen’s,” one more in the Nielsen chain. Mearle Heitzman, a trusted employee and roving manager, added the newly acquired restaurant to his responsibility list. Heitzman learned the restaurant business well, frequently working 12-16 hours a day. When George Nielsen died, Hoffman took over and he decided to sell the restaurants. On January 1, 1961, Heitzman purchased the Mooney Blvd. restaurant, waiting a year before putting the Mearle’s sign

up. For the next 34 years, Heitzman would be the restaurant’s owner. Employees and customers alike watched Heitzman spend long hours handling every aspect of its operation. Some even thought he lived there. One young lady who had a special fondness for the drive-in was Melissa Hulsey. In Oct. 1970, this 21-year-old was hired as a waitress. In 1980, the now experienced waitress asked Heitzman about the possibility of someday buying the drive-in. He was open to the idea and promoted her to manager to prepare her for ownership. In the years that followed, the two would casually discuss the eventual sale. In April 1995, Heitzman asked if she was ready to take over. A little hesitant, she began considering a partner, and soon she teamed up with her sister, Barbara. On October 1, 1995, it became official. Heitzman retired, and the two sisters

were the new owners of Mearle’s. For the next several years the restaurant went through both good times and bad. Eventually, the challenges of running a restaurant became too much. Costs became difficult to manage, and in 2005, an eviction notice appeared and the doors were locked tight. The building remained vacant and, through a series of legal maneuvers and other unfortunate circumstances, the future of the business and building looked bleak. It stood tenantless for several years and fell into disrepair. It became an easy target for graffiti, and frequent comments were heard about its deteriorating condition. Its future was in serious doubt. Then The Habit Burger Grill came to town. In October 2010, the company presented their plans for the vacant building to city officials. The plans were approved, and for the next year the building was gutted and went through major renovation. The Habit loved the location and recognized the historic character of the building. In their remodel, they honored its history and incorporated historical elements into their design. The following year, The Habit opened in the 71-year-old landmark building. The Habit’s CEO Russ Bendel was personally involved in the opening of the Visalia location and has fond memories of his Visalia experience noting, “All the parties were very cooperative.” Does he regret coming to Visalia and choosing the Mearle’s building? Absolutely not. The Habit is “delighted to be in Visalia,” and pleased to have a “very successful store.”

LEFT: TAD'S Drive-In as it appeared during the 1945 flood. RIGHT: Mearle Heitzman, namesake for the popular restaurant. Circa 1992.


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LOCAL ADVENTURE

CENTR AL

VALLE Y

WINE

TR AIL

A WINE WEEKEND CLOSE TO HOME

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hen Tulare County residents seek out a quick weekend wine tasting excursion, the Central Coast is often the first place that comes to mind. With hundreds of wineries, picturesque rolling hills, and scenic drives through the countryside, it’s no wonder so many people head west. But, there are also plenty of reasons to stay in the Central Valley when it comes to great wine. From North Fresno to Terra Bella and places in between, a local could make a whole weekend adventure out of wine tasting in the Central Valley. First on the wine trail, you’ll get your palate ready at The Tasting Room in Fresno, where you might just be serenaded by a live band. Once your senses are awake, there are a number of nearby wineries and tasting rooms to choose from, including the Fresno State Winery, Engelmann Cellars, Moravia Winery, and LoMac Winery. Head southeast 16 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

on the trail and you’ll bump into Marechal Vineyards, Cedar View Winery, and Kings River Winery. In the more southern region of the San Joaquin Valley, you’ll find Ramos Torres Winery in Kingsburg, as well as Blend Wine Room, which also has a newly opened tasting room in downtown Visalia. Just west of Hanford, be sure to stop in at Farmer’s Fury Winery in Lemoore before heading down south to Cacciatore Winery and Las Flores Winery. For your convenience, we’ve created a Central Valley wine trail map to help you better plan out your next wine tasting weekend. Tasting Tip: Before you head out, be sure to confirm that the wineries on your list are open for business on the day you plan to stop in. Many wineries are only open for tastings on Saturday and Sunday, and some of them may even require a reservation. Happy wine tasting!


CHARITY

Erica Tootle, Director of Development for Family Services of Tulare County.

Jody Gilman decorated the tables with flowers grown and designed by European Gardens.

A miniature farmers market was set up for guests to take home fresh produce.

Guest Chef Jon Koobation.

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GUEST CHEF SERIES

A GOURMET GATHERING IN SUPPORT OF FAMILY SERVICES

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either rain, nor sleet—or in this case, extreme heat—could keep 288 of some of the Central Valley’s most philanthropic citizens away from Family Services of Tulare County’s annual Guest Chef Series event. Celebrating the Valley’s abundance, “Come to the Table” was the theme of this year’s al fresco tasting and dinner held on June 17 at the elegant, rustic home of Stan and Carol Trapp. For more than 30 years, Family Services has strived to fulfill its mission to, “help children, adults, and families heal from violence and thrive in healthy relationships.” Starting with the opening of a battered women’s shelter in 1983, the organization now positively impacts more than 3,000 Tulare County clients yearly. Family Services offers a myriad of resources addressing domestic violence, mental health, sexual assault, human trafficking, children’s counseling, parental education, support, outreach, prevention, and more. Close to 90 percent of the agency’s revenue is utilized on programming, and funds raised at the Guest Chef Series will be directed to general operational needs. Upon arrival at the event, a flowing creek greeted guests as they walked across a bridge that led into the beautiful back yard. While mingling over cold beverages on the grass, towering oak trees swayed in occasional breezes, T E X T

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providing cooling respites from the nearly 100-degree temperature. In step with the celebration of the Valley’s agricultural riches, ice water infused with local fruit blends kept everyone hydrated in the late afternoon warmth. A three-man musical group, The Tayters, set the tone for the event with a mellow, upbeat mixture of songs

Produce from the mini farmers market.

they described as “somewhat acoustic, eclectic entertainment.” Guests’ pictures were taken at a photo station complete with a “step and repeat” backdrop, fancy hats, and other accoutrements. Sitting under an especially large tree was a miniature farmer’s market, coordinated by board member Theresa LoBue and her husband Joe, and sponsored by Umina Brothers, Dayka Hackett, Kirschenman Farms, J.B.

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Guests mingled on the beautiful lawn at the home of Stan and Carol Trapp.

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Critchley, and Aslan. These companies donated and transported fresh, local fruits and vegetables for partygoers to bring home, and the produce remaining after the event was donated to Visalia Emergency Aid Council. The setting and atmosphere for dinner were evidence that an extraordinary evening was in store. Long tables set with white china, black napkins, and burlap runners were the foundation for a communal, farm-to-table feel that was sophisticated yet relaxing. Jody Gilman’s decorative vision mixed an eclectic collection of brass candlesticks, vintage vases, and casual floral arrangements (grown and designed by European Gardens) on the runners accented with olive branches. At dusk, Jody personally lit the candles, chatting with diners at each table. Board Chair Mike Wallace welcomed everyone, thanked the event sponsors, and introduced Executive Director Caity Meader, who expressed her gratitude to everyone for attending, despite the high temperatures, and assured the crowd that their “presence makes a difference in our community." She also acknowledged the event sponsors and recognized the Family Services staff and board of directors, sharing that in her many years in the non-profit arena, she has never worked with such a dedicated group of people. She S A

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(L to R): Shirley Batchman, Cheryl Lehn, Margaret Moholt, and Lori Ferguson.

then introduced Guest Chef Jon dinner of grilled pork tenderloin Koobation, who demonstrated marinated with honey, Dijon three summer recipes. mustard, and red chile, roasted Chef Jon—executive chef and red and purple potatoes, and restaurateur, 2001 California a summer vegetable medley, Restaurant Association Chef was followed by fresh peaches of the Year, author, and Central over pound cake for dessert. Valley culinary icon—donated As dusk fell, a short video his time and the ingredients showcased Family Services’ for all the dishes served. He newest program, Freedom created the tastings for the House, which supports victims event with seasonal produce of human trafficking. After an currently available in the eight-year process to open, the Central Valley. Diners followed house served 36 children and along in their programs as he adults in 2016, and it’s anticipated presented each recipe, sharing more than double that number valuable tips and information. will be impacted this year. Each tasting was served familyGuest Speaker Diana, a victim style as Family Services board of human trafficking, spoke of her members poured specially paired journey and how she now works wines. Charred asparagus roll-ups with victims. She articulated gave a bright, that everyone savory nod to the can make a summer grilling positive impact season. Salmon in a victim’s with summer life in some fruit salsa was way: "Without refreshingly tart a place like and sweet with Freedom House, fresh peaches the journey and sweet red toward safety onion, lemon, and healing and a hint of heat becomes a road CHARITY from jalapeño filled with more pepper. In a potholes than fun twist, small pavement... Homeowners, Stan and Carol Trapp. portions of a rich, everyone can dark chocolate do something ganache tart to help... with raspberry coulis were to pave a path where people served as the third appetizer, can live their potential instead prompting appreciative smiles of their nightmare." as guests savored a taste To close the evening, Caity of dessert before dinner. thanked the attendees once more After a short break, everyone and invited anyone interested “… returned to their seats and to invest in the work that Family board member Shirley Batchman Services does in the community." acknowledged Stan and Carol The warmth of guests’ Trapp for hosting the event, compassion far surpassed the thanking them sincerely for, heat of the weather, as everyone “being gracious and welcoming stayed for the entire event in a from the moment they were testament to their commitment asked if they'd be willing.” to the organization’s critical Some might think it difficult programs. In the words of Jeff to follow the delectable tasting Meader, "There are others who dishes with an outstanding dinner are dealing with much more than menu, but Chef David Vartanian the heat; we are very fortunate of The Vintage Press was, as that we are able to be here to always, up to the challenge. A support Family Services."

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Ice water infused with local fruit blends.

(L to R) Ryan Lansdowne, Rick Wescott, Kim Wescott, Renee Lansdowne, and Linda Lansdowne.

(L to R) Lynn Learned, Angela Bettencourt, Christine Doherty, Kathleen Nunes, and Leslie Santos.


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FOODIE

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L O C A V O R E ’ S

P A R A D I S E

A BACKYARD REVOLUTION OF AUTHENTIC BOUNTY W

ith national and international food trends favoring the “locavore” movement and its mantra of locally-sourced ingredients, change is afoot in the culinary world at large, but also here at home. While it remains something of an irony that the so-called “Breadbasket of the World” lacks its own signature regional cuisine, area consumers are adopting a more local approach to shopping. California’s San Joaquin Valley is awash in highquality produce, and ships produce of mind-boggling variety, quality, and yield to points all over the globe. It provides the United States with fully 25 percent of its fresh produce. In contrast to its somewhat fuzzy image as an ag region in the national psyche, the San Joaquin is coming into its own regarding its

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culinary scene. Further, the ubiquity of Netflix and provocative documentaries like Food, Inc. and Supersize Me—once hard-to-find obscurities in a blockbuster movie market like Visalia—now more easily influence local consumer attitudes and demands away from corporate food systems. Local just makes sense, given life in one of the world’s preeminent ag regions. The Central Valley’s output— revenue powerhouses like citrus or dairy that make Tulare County and surrounding environs tops in their sectors nationally—is more closely associated geographically with runnersup from afar: Wisconsin with dairy and Florida with oranges, for example. California avocados—90 percent of those consumed in the U.S.—aren’t |

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that highly associated with the Golden State, despite marketing efforts; say “avocados” and people still think “Mexican food.” Cattle, upon which the Central California ag industry was founded, runs fourth behind Texas and a couple of other flyovers. And if those of us of a certain age hear “California Raisins,” the ’80s-era dancing claymation version might spring to mind as readily as any mental images of the actual dried fruit. California is still winning as the nation’s number one ag state, yet still seems to come in second where top-of-mind awareness is concerned. But the “Alice Waters* effect” continues to shape restaurant practices as well as public expectations and shopping patterns. J O H N S O N

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FOODIE

The Downtown Visalia Farmers Market acts as the showcase for Tulare County’s bounty. Photo by Roger Gonzales

How we are perceived is of keen interest to area promoters of our tourism industry, Tulare County’s number two sector. “It is true that we lack that signature item or instant name recognition that places like New Orleans, like beignets or hurricanes, or Napa Valley wine. But we have authenticity,” said Suzanne Bianco of the Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We have real farmers and ranchers, great chefs, and creative people who can create those special cheeses, chocolates, or beers for that matter. Just like planning a party is easier if you have a theme to build upon, it would be easier to market around a signature identity— think, garlic capitol. However, we can springboard in different directions rather than rely on one or two namesakes. We can do nuts, oranges, stone fruit, dairy, grapes, etc.,” she added. Our fertile region, with its enormous and readily available bounty, may not produce that singular culinary stamp on the state, but there are notable shifts taking place locally. Many San Joaquin

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dwellers are becoming “locavores,” and some would say many here always were, just without the fancy label. Locally, many of our chef-owned restaurants take their cues from Bay

Area restaurants, some borrowing menus from the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle or Food & Wine. But they are shopping our Farmers Markets for that day’s menu. Chain restaurant mediocrity may still prevail with area consumer tastes, as rife in the Valley as in Anytown, U.S.A., but change is here.

LOCAVORE IS A THING. Despite the prevailing chain fixation, many Visalians and other area residents long ago joined what is now a broader cultural shift toward the locavore movement: Growing locally, buying locally. Michelle Bacci-Jessen—among the area’s key tastemakers, co-founder of Tazzaria, and co-owner along with husband James Jessen of a miniempire of numerous Visalia restaurants including Pizano’s, PhD, The Butcher & Baker, Tazz.Coffee, and Glick’s—sees major positives to being in this area. “We were recently reminded by a welltraveled foodie just exactly how lucky we are as chefs to live where we do. Being born and raised in this area, you don’t realize how much you take for granted when food is concerned,” said Jessen. “You start to forget just how awesome it is that the lettuce you are serving in your salads is literally grown just a few miles from the restaurant, and the walnuts in the muffins we bake are grown and delivered to us by one of our customers. If I can think of one

INSET: A cornucopia of heirloom tomatoes and fresh produce, sourced by The Vintage Press.


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FOODIE

An heirloom tomato Burrata salad from Chef David Vartanian.

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Photo by Roger Gonzales

Pizano’s Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Visalia.


phrase to describe what we have access to, it would be ‘fresh bounty.’” Buying local has never been easier. Visalia’s two Farmers Markets attract both amateur and pro chefs each Thursday and Saturday, as well as those with no culinary aspirations at all, merely in search of a good time. “Our farmer’s market is spectacular,” said Jessen. “We love shopping every week for specials we’ll feature at the restaurants. We have become spoiled because we have made relationships with a lot of local growers who deliver right to our door. I have to admit that I am a bit of a fruit bat, so I am in heaven during this time of year. We have fun creating dishes that are hyper-local with what we find at the market, and following the seasons definitely offers great inspiration.” For those wanting to buy local and subvert a food system that ships, preserves, fumigates, and irradiates, Jessen said, “I guess all I have to offer is just give it a try. Start with something small like local coffee, Rosa Brothers ice cream, or a trip Milk Company representing at the to farmer’s market. Farm Bureau’s Bounty I am confident of the County event. that you will be Photo by Aimee Sa Photography. pleasantly surprised with finding good food, good company, and people with a passion for what they are creating. Eat local, it’s the way it should be.” Local producers have upped their retail games, like Bravo Farms, Rosa Brothers, Stafford’s Chocolates, Top O’ the Morn Farms, and Naturally Nuts, among numerous others including Reimers, a locally-owned confectionery that uses locally-grown ingredients in their homemade ice cream. Cacciatore Winery and Olive Corp. is found at Café 225, which serves several varieties of their wine, as does La Piazza in Tulare. Bari Olive Oil in Dinuba distributes to Glick’s, Tazzaria, and Pizano's. Farmer’s Fury, a winery in Lemoore, distributes via the Cellar Door and

Vartanian restaurants. Watson’s Veggie Garden often uses produce grown locally or in their own garden, as well as other locally sourced products like honey and eggs. Those are just a few of the many examples of local establishments supporting local products. WHO HAS THE VISION? Suzanne Bianco of the Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau, sees a lot of interest coming from outside the region, perhaps more strongly than longtime residents. The world’s tourists come to visit the Sequoias, but often mention our local roadside produce stands as among their favorite experiences. Efforts are being undertaken to raise the profile of the San Joaquin Valley as a foodie destination, given that we are awash in great sources and ingredients. “I think because ag is our way of life, we locals forget that people from all over the world are fascinated to really see that connection: the growing, preparing, and enjoying of food. We always highlight all the wonderful places we have in our county to celebrate food whether it is eating, making, or growing. And while farm-to-fork is a catch phrase used often in big cities, in Tulare County, it is the way we live everyday,” said Bianco. “We have suggested itineraries for foodie visitors who are looking to explore the food scene a little deeper. From restaurants, to farmers markets, to the best strawberry stands, to museums and farm tours that teach about ag, we have so much to offer. Rosa Brothers Dairy tours offer insight into the dairy business to help visitors see how milk gets on the grocery store shelf.” Food writer and photographer Lori Rice, a transplant now living in Central California whose food blog L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

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(fakefoodfree.com) covers a variety of HOME TOURissues including the local food timely movement, agrees on the allure of roadside stands. “In terms of ingredients, the local farm stands, especially during berry season, really stand out for me. It’s one of the major food-focused things I love about this area,” she said. Another characteristic of our area that stands out to the relative newcomer: Local restaurants often don’t brag when they are sourcing ingredients locally. “In fact, I rarely see it on menus at all, even in fine print at the bottom,” said Rice. “I recently learned that several restaurants in town get some

of their ingredients from the Farmers Market and local farmers. Please, please, please brag about that—on your menus, in your ads. I want to know that you are sourcing foods locally. Your food and establishment become much more inviting to me because I know that by supporting you, I’m supporting the community.” Some of the reasons to shop locally— sustainability, as well as qualitative matters, can be summed up in these three things, according to Rice: Relationships, community, and food quality. “I enjoy having a relationship with the people who supply my

food. I like to hear their stories, their triumphs, and their challenges when it comes to growing and producing that food. Strong communities are built by supporting each other. There is no better way to provide that support than by purchasing the goods we use every day from someone who produces them locally. Finally, I find that the shorter the time a piece of produce spends between the dirt and my kitchen, the better it tastes. Shopping locally means farmers can harvest that produce at peak ripeness leading to a better taste, and according to some research, a greater nutrient content.”

FOODIE

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TheOil pool which is used now an AirBnB rental, featuresTulare an open shower, a loftbybed, andSa twoPhotography bathrooms. Bari Olive Co.house, products are in restaurants throughout County. Photo Aimee


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FOODIE

Local catering company, Trés Bien Tailored Cuisine, creates creative dishes with fresh ingredients.

But to change habits, people must first change their minds. What are some of the barriers, including mental and logistical ones, as well as economic or cultural ones, to shopping locally? According to Rice, “I’ve spent quite a bit of time in my past work evaluating barriers to local food supply and there are many. They exist with both the consumer and the producer. As consumers, we’ve lost touch with seasonality. We want all varieties of foods to be available at all times of the year. I’m guilty of this, too, in my current work [as a food photographer]. I’m a big believer in a global food system along with my support for local shopping, but this constant demand for foods regardless of the time of year causes us to forget about seasonality. So when the season does come around, those local options are often forgotten about and traded for convenience with consumers buying the product at the supermarket, regardless of the origin.” Like all of us, farmers and producers must have an income to survive. If they can’t guarantee a local market to bring in that income, they might move on to a larger market that they can depend on and allow the demand in that market to drive what they produce. This also leads to fewer varieties of foods being grown. Products tend to lean toward familiar retail varieties and not less common—but beautiful and delicious— heirloom varieties. “I’m crazy about all varieties of heirloom tomatoes and rare 30 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

peppers,” said Rice. “Basically anything that is unfamiliar to me, I buy, research the origin, and then experiment with it in my kitchen. Those rare items are harder to find in this area and I expect it’s just because the demand isn’t there.” Rice spent the first part of her career working with food access as it relates to health and much of it was focused on low-income communities. “Every

That being said, Rice’s response to this challenge of cost has always been that many people can afford these foods. “Let’s start there. Many of us have the money to pay more for a local tomato, we just value convenience and other expenses in life more than supporting a local food system. I think the greatest thing to witness in a community is when this value system shifts; when supporting a local food system becomes important enough to us that we invest in it by buying local. I’m not saying we can or should buy every single food we eat locally, but when a food is available locally, I see no reason not to buy it from the place it is grown. The benefit is a stronger

Rosa Brothers Milk Company distributes their locally made ice cream and milk products throughout Tulare County.

community, respect for producers, enhanced awareness of seasonality, and fresher, better tasting foods.” That works for Jessen: “We've built

time I’ve provided my view about valuing food, spending more for good food, and supporting local, I’ve always been challenged with the statement that not everyone can afford it. When you are trying to make ends meet and keep your family healthy, buying a local heirloom tomato is the last thing on your mind,” said Rice. “I do feel that mass-market and chain-oriented food cultures can make a difference by sourcing more foods locally for sale at affordable prices so that more people can easily access these foods.”

our restaurants and reputation on fresh, local ingredients. I think that we recently are finally realizing the magnitude of everything that our region truly has to offer us. With that being said, we are enjoying our ingredients more than ever. Everything from fruits, vegetables, cheeses, jams, meat, to beer and wine; there is such an abundance of fresh, quality ingredients and talented artisans right in our backyard. We are lucky to call Visalia home and to be part of the great food revolution that has been taking place here.

* Alice Waters is an American chef, restaurateur, activist, and one of the most visible supporters of the organic food movement.


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L I F E S T& Y LSun. E | J U LY 0 1 7 31 559.732.6439 | 604 W. Murray Ave. Visalia | Open Tues. - Fri 6 a.m. • Sat. 8 2a.m.


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hen you think “farm fresh,” a low-lit, underground speakeasy isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, and rightfully so. But if you head downstairs at the PhD in Visalia, it’s likely you’ll find a few “Garden to Glass” cocktails made with fresh, local ingredients. From refreshing muddled fruit cocktails to classic libations prepared with egg whites and mint, there’s a little something from every corner of the garden.

SIP

WATERMELON PUNCH

A refreshing, classic punch style cocktail. INGREDIENTS Titos vodka, watermelon Schnapps, lemon, simple syrup, fresh watermelon juice, and water. Tasting notes: Tart, sweet, and citrus

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A fresh take on an old fashioned. INGREDIENTS 77 Wheat Whiskey, Aperol liqueur, Tuaca liqueur, and orange bitters. Tasting notes: bold, vanilla, citrus, and bitter

THE ENGINEER

WATERMELON PUNCH

A cross between a whiskey sour and a rusty nail.

A refreshing, classic style punch cocktail.

INGREDIENTS

INGREDIENTS

THE ESTABLISHED INN KEEPER Titos vodka, watermelon

lemon, simple John Barr scotch, Drambuie A gin fiSchnapps, zz meets a whiskey syrup, fresh watermelon liqueur, egg white, and juice, and water. INGREDIENTS our PhD house sour. Tasting notes: Smokey, honey, and sour

smash.

Bainbridge barrelnotes: aged gin, Tasting Tart,egg white, cream, mint, lemon juice, powdered sugar, and club sweet, and citrus soda. Shaken and served with no ice. Tasting notes: Light, fresh, creamy, and minty

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SAGE & THE GIANT PEACH

A martini cocktail meets a margarita on the rocks.

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INGREDIENTS Cimarrรณn tequila, Carpano dry vermouth, lemon juice, powdered sugar, fresh muddled peaches, and fresh sage. Tasting notes: Dry, sweet, herbal, and creamy

THE ENGINEER

A cross between a whiskey sour and a rusty nail. INGREDIENTS John Barr scotch, Drambuie liqueur, egg white, and our PhD house sour. Garnish with a fresh orange peel from the farmers market. Tasting notes: Smokey, honey, and sour

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TRAVELER’S

TREK Tuscan hills and medieval walled cities.

Steep hills, stoned buildings, and narrow walkways are scattered throughout Tuscany.

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A morning fresh produce market on the street in Florence.


TUSCANY

A VISUAL AND CULINARY FEAST

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ocated on Italy’s west coast, touring Tuscany is a top choice in a country that is one of the world’s most popular travel destinations. This region’s tiled roofs, timeless earth toned buildings, medieval hill top towns, rolling farmland, and perfectly tended vineyards would be reason enough to visit. Yet, Tuscany is also home to some of the world’s finest “art cities” of Florence, Lucca, Siena, and Pisa—each a cultural and visual jewel box. And if the scenery, architecture, and breathtaking art weren’t enough to feed the soul, the cuisine and wines are just as visitworthy, making Tuscany a trifecta of destinations. T E X T

In great part due to Italy’s late unification as a country, Italians have a much stronger sense of loyalty and identity to the city or town where their family is from, rather than a region or the country as a whole. So even though Lucca and Pisa are just 20 minutes apart, someone from Lucca would consider themselves first a “Lucchesi" or Pisa a “Pisano,” not an Italian. They’d both declare this heritage quite loudly, as well, often after vigorously (and humorously) denigrating the other’s hometown. This identity peculiarity may play a role in explaining why the food and drink in Italy differs dramatically from region-to-region and even cityA N D

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to-city. This reality makes up for the fact that, unlike anywhere we’ve visited, it’s almost impossible to find nonItalian cuisine in this country. Even the Scottish pub we stumbled upon served traditional local dishes with fish, chips, and beer tacked onto the menu. While not particularly unified in national identity, Italians are united in the importance of quality food, wine, and the use of locally sourced and fresh ingredients. No imported spices or jars of tomato sauce here! Small produce markets, meat and cheese vendors, shops with bread baked daily, and wine from local vineyards are in abundance in both the largest cities L E V I T A N


The chef at our cooking class holding a truffle.

A meat, cheese, and sausage shop in San Gimignano.

The Versilia Riviera is the coastline along the beaches and cities in northern Tuscany.

A "bar" is a cafe where patrons expect to stand to eat or take the food with them.

And if the scenery, architecture, and breathtaking art weren’t enough to feed the soul, the cuisine and wines are just as visit-worthy, making Tuscany a trifecta of destinations. C H E R Y L

and the most rural villages. Proper etiquette when entering an eatery or takeaway window is to greet the proprietor or clerk with a “buongiorno,” add “per favore” when ordering, and a “grazie" and “arrivederci” when leaving. Handily, buonasera works as both “hello" and “good evening” after 4 p.m. Renowned for their ice cream, expect to find gelaterias on every corner. Akin to ice cream, gelato has less butterfat and is served a bit warmer to intensify the flavor and give it a more velvety texture. Proper etiquette is to first decide on size (even a small will be two or three scoops) and pay at the register where you receive a receipt. Holding your receipt up to the server behind the case as proof of payment, the process of tasting a few samples before ordering one or more flavors begins. The final decision will be choosing either a cono (cone) or coppa (cup); the latter is the wiser choice if eating while walking, due to gelato’s higher drip factor! Visitors will also notice an inordinately large number of bars, so much so that they might think Italians are constantly drinking! A ‘bar’ in Italy is a type of cafe where patrons infrequently sit down. In fact, if there are tables and you do sit down, it signals for table service, thereby 38 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

L E V I T A N

doubling or tripling the price of your order. That’s why most Italians stand next to the counter to drink a cup of coffee. While on the subject of coffee, be forewarned that requesting coffee or ‘caffè’ will deliver an espresso, not drip or filtered coffee. Even an order of caffè Americano may sometimes generate a shot of espresso in hot water. A cappuccino will be espresso with foamy milk, caffè macchiato will be espresso with just a touch of milk, and caffè latte will be a cup of milk with just a bit of espresso. Once again, you pay first at the register, then go to the counter to get the server’s attention. It is customary to leave a small coin on the counter with your cup when you finish, adding a goodbye or thank you as you leave. Pizzerias are the third ubiquitous establishment and often have takeaway windows. Despite a long list of possible toppings, your options will be limited to what is in the display case. Crusts may be a thick Neapolitan style (more common in the south) or a thin Roman style. Unlike the bar-cafés and gelaterias, you order first from the server since cost is determined by slice size. The server normally points his knife at a possible cutting spot and customers motion and say piccolo (smaller) or

grande (larger). Patrons then pay the server directly or receive a receipt for register payment. If there are stools, you may sit at no extra cost. Before traveling to Italy, it’s helpful to know which Italian-American foods will be absent or decidedly different. My husband can attest to this after his repeated attempts to obtain crushed red pepper flakes were met with confused looks and the arrival of cayenne powder, paprika, or sliced red peppers. Marinara or any true tomato sauce or “gravy” doesn’t exist in Italy either, just peeled, crushed tomatoes. In fact, if you ask for marinara, you may be served pasta “mariner style” with shellfish and olives! There’s an abundance of bread, but no butter or traditional garlic bread. And in Tuscany, the bread is salt-free (with a salt shaker sometimes nearby). Dressing for salads, as we know it, doesn’t exist; salads are dressed with oil and vinegar or just oil. Parmigiana is a cooking style reserved for eggplant, not any other vegetable, meat, or poultry. And if you are hankering for lasagna, it will have a concentrated, dry red meat sauce with moisture coming from a béchamel sauce and cheese. As far as tiramisu, it will be a no-bake parfait with alternating layers of sweetened mascarpone, and


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L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

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is less popular than biscotti, cakes with nuts and fruit (especially in Siena), and chocolate sponge cake with liquor (in Florence). Finally, spaghetti with meatballs is non-existent. Meatballs are served alone, often as an appetizer— but you will find gluten-free pasta! Now confident in etiquette and what food items you won’t find, what will be on your plate in Tuscany? As the ancestral home of the wealthy and influential Medici family, this region has always produced the finest olive oils, sheep’s milk cheeses, and meats—all in elegantly simple recipes with the aroma of rosemary, sage, and locally grown saffron. Fiorentina T-bone steaks are exclusive to Tuscany and come two to three inches thick in two to three pound slabs. Needless to say, they are meant to be shared and too thick for anything but a rare center! Although porchetta (roasted pig) originated in Umbria further south, it is commonly found on the menu here. And if you get to the city of Campi just outside Florence, be sure to try their famous braised goat. Farro, rice, and polenta (the latter more corn mush than solid) are more common side dishes than spaghetti, ravioli, or wide

flat pappardelle noodles when paired with meat dishes. And when it comes to meat and poultry, don’t be shocked when various “parts” are considered delicacies. When in doubt, “Google” before ordering rooster’s comb or stewed brain. Remember to ask locals where to find carbonara served as a specialty of the house. This absolute standout spaghetti with pecorino cheese uses guanciale (lean cured pork cheeks) instead of bacon. Giant loaves of bread direct from wood-fired stoves (pane toscano) are served with meals or added to salads and soups, including ribollita (thick vegetable soup) and panzanella (a salad of crumbled bread, tomatoes, onions, and basil). Famous for porcini mushrooms and luxurious white tartufi (truffles), the pungent earthy, garlic and musk-like flavor of the latter is a taste I haven’t acquired. Finally, expect numerous varieties of vegetables or beans baked in terra-cotta casseroles and the world’s most flavorful tomatoes. With all that food, you must have wine, especially in Tuscany. Birthplace of Chianti, the finest brands have a black rooster symbol on the label. Chianti’s base ingredient, the Sangiovese

grape, also produces two excellent reds—Brunelli di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (or less costly Rosso di Montalcino and Rosso di Montepulciano). When phylloxera ravaged vineyards in the late 1800s, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vines were imported. Used alone or as mixing grapes, these vines produce the “Super Tuscans,” which are red wines from Tuscany using non-indigenous grapes. The white Trebbiano grape produces much of the region's light, crisp white wines as well as balsamic vinegar. Vermentino vines produce a wine akin to Sauvignon Blanc with the finest example found in Tuscany’s medieval town of San Gimignano. In a land renowned for reds, Vernaccia di San Gimignano was awarded the country’s first white wine appellation or DOC status for quality and authenticity. And if you like dessert wines, try Vin Santo. Travel is always a learning experience and one commonly found through food tours or cooking classes in Tuscany. Be prepared to be welcomed here by a people with open arms and hearts—and an irresistible sense of humor. Don’t leave your smile or appetite at home.

Small produce markets, meat and cheese vendors, shops with bread baked daily, and wine from local vineyards are in abundance in both the largest cities and the most rural villages. C H E R Y L

A rare Scottish pub.

San Gimignano is one of the best-preserved medieval cities.

Tightly packed medieval walled cities, towers, and tile roofs throughout Tuscany.

The white marble quarries are visible in the Apuan Alps above the town of Carrara in Tuscany.

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L E V I T A N


The community garden is at the Visalia Senior Center on the corner of Oak and Locust Streets in downtown Visalia.

Leadership Visalia graduates (L to R) Colin Franey, Elizabeth Jacques, and Daryl Sanchez.

G R O W I N G C O M M U N I T Y AT

VISALIA’S DEMONSTRATION GARDEN

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hat had been an unsightly and unused plot of dirt at the Visalia Senior Center on Locust Street in downtown Visalia is now a productive demonstration garden that benefits the entire community, thanks to the efforts of this year’s Leadership Visalia class. The garden is intended to serve as a living classroom to educate locals from all walks of life about fresh foods, demonstrate the many simple options available to grow produce, and encourage residents to take steps toward a healthier diet through gardening. Leadership Visalia is offered through the Visalia Chamber of Commerce, and focuses on developing young professionals by enhancing their leadership skills and inspiring them to make a difference in their communities. A maximum of 20 participants are recommended for the nine-month program from private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Recent Leadership Visalia graduates, Colin

Franey, (Franey’s Design Center), Daryl Sanchez (Family Healthcare Network), and Elizabeth Jacques (Morgan Stanley Wealth Management), sat down in the garden to talk about their experience in the program and their class community project. One facilitator and a variety of mentors develop the resources for each monthly class. Sessions on health and wellness, agriculture, governance, time management, and public speaking ensure personal, professional, and leadership development. Program participants also work together to plan sessions. Programs are designed to help members understand current local needs and issues so that they can serve the community through their work for many years to come. The culmination of the leadership program is a community project that must meet several requirements: participants must use the skills they gained and connect with community organizations they met. The project T E X T

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must be sustainable after the class has completed their work, and it must directly benefit a large portion of the community. Everyone in the class is required to participate, and, most importantly, it must be a new idea that has never been implemented before. The initial concept for the garden came from classmates Trevor Lewis (Amplify Inc.) and Scott Smith (ServiceMaster by Benevento), who noted that although the Central Valley is a community driven by agriculture, many residents don't understand or benefit from it. The USGS California Water Science Center states, “…the Central Valley supplies 8 percent of U.S. agricultural output (by value) and produces 1/4th of the nation's food, including 40 percent of the nation's fruits, nuts, and other table foods,” all while using less than 1 percent of the nation’s farmland*. It may be surprising to hear that the same Central Valley is considered a “food desert”—a common term


Congratulations to this year’s

Law Day recipient

40 Years of Service Award! With Special thankS to

tulare county Bar association!


describing communities lacking access to healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats and dairy products. The absence of large markets that sell these and other healthier food options means residents rely on products purchased easily and inexpensively from fast food and convenience stores in their neighborhoods, which generally contain higher amounts of sugar and fats. This diet leads to a multitude of health issues, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes. It is hoped the demonstration garden will help reduce ambivalence people may feel about starting gardens at home. Raised beds and containers show that quite a bit can be grown without land. Information showing how to build, fill, and plant the beds (each made for under $100) will be posted at the center. Elizabeth discussed additional options available to home gardeners. "You can be so creative…planting in pallet and hanging gardens, even in mason jars and in other containers you probably have at home, makes having some type of garden possible for just about everyone.” One primary goal of the group was getting people around their tables to eat fresh food, spend time together, and mentor each other. They were able to bring community groups together to work on the project, including the Visalia Senior Center, UC Master Gardeners, and youth in the Police Activities League (PAL) program.

Through these collaborations, they successfully connected residents across ages, income, and educational levels. The group also learned the ins and outs of working with city personnel when plans needed to be revised to adhere to city regulations. Local sponsors donated almost $10,000 in cash and additional in-kind gifts. Colin shared that the level of involvement of so many businesses and organizations was inspiring: “Visalia has a great sense of camaraderie and giving back…we received an incredible amount of generous support. They were gracious with their time, talent, and donations.” When it was time to install the garden, class members and volunteers were on rotation for a week moving dirt around and building the other components. Dwarf Meyer Lemon and tangerine trees, a plum tree, tomatoes, herbs (jasmine, basil, rosemary, thyme), summer squash, strawberries, peppers, and flowers were planted with the utmost of care. As they worked, passersby stopped to inquire what was happening and reacted positively to the project and its goals for the community. The garden was unveiled at a celebratory open house in May. Going forward, the garden will be maintained by Visalia Parks & Recreation’s newly formed Senior Gardening Club, spearheaded by the UC Master Gardeners. Seniors will take care of the garden and the produce harvested will be used in

meals prepared at the senior center. The three classmates agreed on the impact their Leadership Visalia experience has had. Daryl shared that, "the whole nine months have been an amazing journey—definitely an accomplishment on a personal and professional level.” Colin concurred, stating, "I'm really proud of what we built here—it wasn't here just two months ago. Where we started in August and where we are now—the journey has been transformational." Elizabeth was candid in her assessment that it was “…a life changing program—not for the faint of heart.” She recognized the dedication of the other members of the Class of 2016-17: Eric Anderson (Anderson's Percussive Services); Jon Bueno (Visalia Chamber of Commerce); Jennifer Corum (Kaweah Delta Health Care District); Vickie Goudreau (Innovative Commercial Flooring, Inc.); Kevin Grant (Visalia Police Department); Fran Herr (AFLAC); Christie Long (Central Valley Community Bank); Uver Moreno (Cal Water); Andrea Navarrette; Gracie Sanchez (Visalia Rescue Mission); Brandy Spray (Visalia Unified School District); Nick Vargas (The Source LGBT+ Center); and Lisa Walsh (Hydrite Chemical), and the generosity of family members who all came to pitch in. Colin agreed, adding, "We built it for the community, and it took a community to build it." *ca.water.usgs.gov/projects/centralvalley/about-central-valley.html

COMMUNITY

LEFT: The Leadership Visalia class built and planted the garden boxes themselves. 44 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

RIGHT: The garden is maintained by Senior Center participants, as well as the UC Master Gardeners.


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45


COASTAL CRAVE D E L I C I O U S

I

n the midst of the Valley’s summer heat, the coast beckons us with its gentle ocean breezes, cool evenings, and clear blue skies. But the coastline isn’t the only thing that draws us in; many of us head west in anticipation of delicious eats at our personal favorite spots. Here, we’re sharing a few coastal dining favorites for every occasion, whether you desire a great burger in a laid-back atmosphere, fresh seafood overlooking the ocean, or creative craft cuisine in a rustic setting. COASTAL CRAVERIES Chop Street, Pismo Beach. This downtown Pismo bistro may seem cozy inside, but it’s got a big bite. Chop Street’s creative American menu with seasonal and daily specials is complemented by a variety of west coast craft beers and small batch wine

46 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

E A T S

options. For those with food allergies, there are numerous gluten-free, dairyfree, and vegetarian options to choose from. Must-try: Slo-Co. Brussels Sprouts. House of JuJu, Morro Bay. Opened by a family from Clovis, this delightful spot is right on the embarcadero, overlooking Morro Bay. Known for gourmet customizable craft burgers, fresh salads, and fish tacos, House of JuJu offers a refreshing menu for a weary traveler. Must-try: Sliders (so you can experience more than one burger) with a side of JuJu Roasted Potatoes. Fish Gaucho, Downtown Paso Robles. Here you’ll find amazing craft margaritas, modern Mexican fare, creative salsas, and endless fine tequila options in a rustic-chic atmosphere. With more than 100 of the world’s best tequilas in-house, patrons can sample a flight of tequila while enjoying a fresh ceviche appetizer. Trust us,

A L O N

your palate will not be disappointed. Must-try: Short Rib Enchiladas. Avila Valley Barn, Avila Beach. There are plenty of delicious eats to indulge in at the Avila Valley Barn. As you explore the barn, you’ll find locally sourced seasonal produce, a small deli, an ice cream and sweets shop, fresh baked pies and goodies, and tons of gifts to bring back home to friends and family. It’s an especially fun place to bring kids as they have a farm animal petting area, pony rides, pumpkin picking in the fall, and u-pick berries and apples in the spring and summer. Must-try: Olallieberry Crisp or Sweet Roasted Corn. Lily’s Coffeehouse, Cambria. You’ll come for the coffee and stay for the delicious pastries at this quaint cafe. The vine-covered sunken patio provides the ideal atmosphere for enjoying a cup of espresso, a fresh panini, or a mouth-watering scone. It’s a great


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place to soak up the sun while blending into Cambria’s local culture. Musttry: Cinnamon-swirl Coffee Cake. Schooners Wharf, Cayucos. Schooners is quintessential Central Coast seafood dining. With breathtaking views of the ocean, endless seafood options, an outdoor patio, and a rustic nautical setting, this spot offers quality food in a laid-back atmosphere. Must-try: Schooner’s Legendary Calamari Strips. SLO Brew, Downtown San Luis Obispo. This may not be a hidden gem for locals, but for visitors passing through, it has a lot more to offer than meets the eye. Opt for outdoor dining, as the hidden back patio opens up onto a picturesque creek and walking path. Choose from rotating SLO Brew craft beers, signature pizzas, big burgers, and tasty appetizers. Musttry: Nasty Nashville’s Hot Thighs. Penny’s All American Café, Pismo

Beach. Trendy? Not at all. Delicious? You bet your bottom dollar. Penny’s can be characterized by heaping breakfast portions, endless coffee, friendly staff, and quirky American charm. It’s definitely that one breakfast stop you look for on every family vacation. Must-try: Pismo Pier Omelet with lobster and bay shrimp. Cambria Pub & Steakhouse, Cambria. This two-story restaurant has a little something for everyone. Downstairs, you’ll dine in a more relaxed pub setting with a menu of delicious burgers, fish and chips, and seafood specialties. Head upstairs and you’ll find an elegant setting with indoor and deck dining. Check online for their live music schedule. Must-try: The Cardiac Burger. Frankie and Lola’s Front Street Café, Morro Bay. Another gem of a brunch destination, Frankie and Lola’s offers all of your breakfast favorites

C O A S T with a creative and soulful twist. With a dog-friendly outdoor patio, views of Morro Rock, and a quaint vibe, you’ll wonder how you’ve missed out all these years. Must-try: French Toast Brulee, Soufflé, Flambé. Downtown SLO Farmer's Market, San Luis Obispo. Every Thursday evening, Higuera Street in downtown SLO is bustling with activity as patrons eat, shop, socialize, and enjoy live music. At times, this Farmer's Market feels more like a street fair with countless food vendors and local restaurants offering up some of their most popular bites. No matter what you’re looking for, you’ll find it here every Thursday night. Must-try: A little bit of this, a little bit of that (a.k.a. everything!).

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SEASONS EATINGS LO CA L P R O D U CE BY T H E S E A S O N S

T

he Central Valley is unmatched in its available cornucopia of locally grown produce. Californians are spoiled with options of fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, the sheer abundance of delicious possibilities can be overwhelming to most consumers. Whether it is the foggy, wet winter or the dry, arid summer, this guide will help any consumer pick out the freshest seasonal produce. Each season offers a unique variety of crops, giving Californians the incomparable luxury of having many fresh choices.

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AUTUMN. This season of change offers an abundance of savory selections. The cool, misty days are contrasted by the warm, hardy meals that come with the start of the holiday season. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and cranberries are all in season during the fall and are essentials in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Pomegranates, a delicious and exotic fruit, are also in season during the fall. Although tricky to get to, the seeds of a pomegranate are loaded with antioxidants and

help to prevent cancer and heart disease. Aside from the basic apples, tart kiwis and sweet dates are alternative ripe fruits in autumn. Many wine and table grape varieties hit their peak ripeness in the fall as well. Poblano peppers and a myriad of wild mushrooms are also harvested in the fall. Just in time for Halloween and Thanksgiving pies, pumpkins are ripe and ready to be picked. The gorgeous fall weather and diversity of crops makes it the perfect season for farmer’s markets.

Poblano Peppers

Dates

Bosc

Sweet Potatoes

Kiwi

Cumice

Cabbage

Apples

Tangerine

Grapes

Pears

Wild Mushrooms

Pomegranates

Bartlett

Russet Potatoes

Cranberries

Anjou

Butternut Squash

LOCAL

WINTER. Despite the foggy, barren look of winter in the valley, this area also has its own seasonal produce. Just in time for Christmas, chestnuts are harvested and await an open fire. Yams, Porcini mushrooms, and multiple varieties of squash are abundant in the winter. Many citrus fruits ripen in the winter as well, adding a little

brightness to the season. Mandarins, oranges, and grapefruit are at their sweetest and are full of vitamin C. Those looking for a more adventurous crop can try persimmons, a rare Asian fruit. Finally, just in time for the Super Bowl, artichokes are harvested for dips along with carrots and celery, offering a healthy Super Bowl snack.

Yams

Arugula

Artichokes

Spinach

Oranges

Bok Choy

Tangelos

Kale

Porcini Mushrooms

Grapefruit

Mustard Greens

Chestnuts

Persimmons

Banana Squash

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LOCAL

SPRING. The gorgeous valley spring is unparalleled. Asparagus, broccoli, snow peas, beets, red onions, green garlic, kale, lettuce, and mint are just a few of the dozens of crops that are in season. On the edges of town, sweet strawberries can be found on nearly every corner along with lemons, apricots, and plums. Enjoy

the sunny, spring days with fresh mint lemonade. The spring offers a huge bounty of fresh produce and farmer’s markets begin again after the winter hiatus. Dill, cilantro, parsley, and basil are some of the fresh herbs available in the spring and can add that missing touch to a variety of dishes.

Avocado

Red Onions

Mint

Asparagus

Green Garlic

Basil

Broccoli

Lettuce

Strawberries

Snow Peas

Parsley

Apricots

Beets

Dill

Plums

Carrots

Cilantro

SUMMER. The hot valley summers are balanced by an unbelievable amount of crops. Sweet corn is ripe and ready for those 4th of July barbeques. Onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, bell peppers, and garbanzo beans are ready to be tossed into a fresh salad. Juicy watermelons are waiting to cool you off on a warm summer afternoon by the pool. Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries are in abundance and can

be found by the bucket load at every farmer’s market throughout the summer. California even takes Georgia’s claim to fame with the sweetest peaches. Eggplants are a savory summer crop that can be factored in to many dishes, and figs are another fruit for those looking for exotic produce. Summer is rounded off with almond, pistachio, apple, and pear harvest, leading to another delicious fall season.

Onions

Eggplant

Peaches

Turnips

Peppers

Melons

Garbanzo Beans

Valencia Oranges

Figs

Cucumbers

Blueberries

Almonds

Sweet Corn

Raspberries

Walnuts

Potatoes

Blackberries

Tomatoes

Cherries

It is easy to see how fortunate Californians are when it comes to food variety. Although this guide scratches the surface, it is a stepping-stone into the world of seasonal produce. Year-round Californians have access to an abundance of fresh crops unmatched by any other state. Each seasons has a unique variety of produce, so do not hesitate to ask your local merchants what seasonal options are available. Farmer’s markets are copious throughout the valley and are the best source for local, seasonal produce. Enjoy your tasty “Seasons Eatings.” 50 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7


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M E A L

P R E P

A HEALTHY

TREND W

hen you think about the term ‘Meal Prep,’ what pops into your head? For a lot of people, the initial thoughts are of spending hours shopping and chopping, cooking and organizing. We see fitness models and professional athletes post displays online of their perfectly customized meal plans for the entire week, calculating macros and meticulously measuring everything in ounces and grams. So when most people think about ‘meal prepping,’ it’s no wonder they get easily intimidated and assume it’s much too complicated and tedious for them to handle. That is simply untrue. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be complicated or scary, and it can mean something different for everyone. There are dozens of ways to meal prep that suit different lifestyles. I’d like to go over a few of the more common methods that seem to work best for the vast majority. If you’re serious about losing weight, gaining muscle, performing better, or improving your health, then meal prepping is an essential skill that could make all the difference in reaching your goals. It has been proven that the most

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following methods into your routine, your success is only a matter a time. The Nightly Routine. This is the most basic and minimal method, as it only takes a few extra minutes. The idea is to spend a couple minutes every evening prepping your food for the next

E V A N G E L H O , &

day. This can be as easy as making an extra serving of dinner that night for your lunch the following day, taking a few minutes to prep some overnight oats to eat for breakfast, chopping up some fruits and veggies, or portioning some nuts or seeds for snacks. If you choose, you can also take a few minutes to marinate meat and/or chop veggies for dinner the following night. The Morning Routine. This routine works well for early risers or those with very little time, and it’s just as basic as the nightly routine. The idea here is to spend a little extra time in the mornings prepping all your food for the day, or maybe even for a couple days. This can be as simple as packing a quick mason jar salad for lunch, some hard boiled eggs or a protein shake for a snack, and seasoning some cubed chicken and chopped vegetables in a plastic baggie to throw into a quick stir fry for dinner that evening. Cafeteria Prep. This method works beautifully for large families where everyone has different schedules and food preferences. The idea with the cafeteria prep is to have all of the individual elements of your meals

effective way to accomplish your health and fitness goals is to control your environment, which means making healthy choices easily accessible and appealing, and unhealthy choices out of reach. Meal prepping ensures that you always have a healthy option to turn to. If you can learn to adopt one of the

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TREND

(meats, veggies, and carbs) cooked and ready to go, but not portioned into individual meals. This way, you or your family members can pick and choose their favorite foods to create their own meals, much like a cafeteria or buffet style meal. The Sunday Ritual. This is what you’d typically think of when you hear the words ‘meal prep.’ This method requires the most planning, calculating, and time, which is why most people choose to do it on Sunday. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated or intimidating. By breaking it down into simple steps, it makes the process a little easier to digest. Once you become efficient at it, it can also save you the most time throughout the rest of your week: 1. First, look ahead at your schedule and plan for what’s happening in your upcoming week. You’ll need to adjust the amount of meals you cook depending on events, vacations, and other scheduled plans. 2. Next, come up with a general menu for the week. I suggest keeping recipes simple (no more than five to 10 ingredients) and only selecting a few different recipes that you’re familiar with to start. 3. Then, build a shopping list from the menu you create. Having a list will help you be more efficient when shopping and less likely 54 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

HAVE SOMEONE PREP FOR YOU

to browse the junk food aisles. 4. Once prepared with a list, you can hit the grocery store. 5. Finally, the prepping can begin. This requires some multitasking skills. Start with your carbohydrates and starchier foods, like rice and potatoes, as they take the longest to cook. As those are cooking, you can throw your meat in the oven to bake and begin chopping veggies. The final step in any of the above methods that you choose to incorporate into your routine, is putting together meals with the appropriate portions. When determining your portion sizes, forget the math and ditch the scale. Unless you’re a pro athlete or bikini model, you don’t need it! Your hands make the perfect measuring tools as they are relative to your body size, portable, and always available to use. As you can see, meal prepping can be for anyone. You don’t have to invest in a fancy food scale, an arsenal of kitchen gadgets, or dozens of high-grade stackable containers. I challenge you to try out one of the above methods and see how simple it can be. By taking a few minutes each day to plan ahead, or a couple hours on the weekend, you can be prepared with smart and balanced meals to keep you fueled for the whole week.

If you’re still unsure about how to start meal prepping on your own, check out these local meal prep companies below, including this article’s author, Lauren Evangelho, who owns Precision Prep. Precision Prep: Precision Prep offers balanced, nutritious meals that are full of variety and flavor. All of our meals have high protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. We also offer hands-on meal prep workshops where you learn the secrets and methods we use to prep 200+ meals in a day for our customers. Mâche: We take our responsibility seriously, knowing that our standards not only determine the meals we produce, but they influence the way we feel food should be grown, processed, and marketed. Every meal consists of organically grown and locally sourced proteins, grains, and vegetables. Nutritional Food Supply: With options for walk-in, pickup, delivery, or shipping, Nutritional Food Supply provides breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals that can be customized to the individual. NFS offers gourmet cultural dishes, as well as classic, savory meals that are clean, simple, and satisfying.


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FOODIE-VENT

CALENDAR A YEAR-LONG GUIDE TO LOCAL FOODIE EVENTS

FROMAGE FROLIC Saturday, September 23, 5-10 p.m. Come out to Garden Street Plaza to partake in the second annual Fromage Frolic grilled cheese cook off event, hosted by the Visalia Parks & Recreation Foundation. Enjoy delicious and unique grilled cheese sandwiches with live entertainment by Run 4 Cover and Jamie Hitchcock.

OKTOBERFEST

J U LY

SEPTEMBER

FOOD FIGHT FOR FAMILIES

DOWNTOWN VISALIA BREW FEST

Sunday, July 16, 3-6 p.m. Join the Visalia Rescue Mission as amateur, local chefs compete for top honors in the cooking competitions. Enjoy delicious food and drinks from local restaurants while entering to win raffle prizes and silent auction items.

BOOTS, BREWS & BACON FEST

Saturday, September 9, 3-7 p.m. Gather your friends together and be ready to taste your favorite beers at Downtown Visalia’s second annual Brew Fest. Come down to the old Lumber Yard at Bridge and Oak Streets to enjoy live music, beer, and fun. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Assistance League of Visalia.

Saturday, July 29, 6-10 p.m. The Visalia Convention Center’s inaugural Boots, Brews & Bacon Fest will take place inside the Visalia Convention Center. Festivities will include craft beer tasting, live music from Brandon Pasion and Leaving Austin, local restaurants featuring their best bacon bite, and pub games.

SAUCY SEPTEMBER EVENING Saturday, September 16, 6-10 p.m. Saucy September is a celebration of Hunger Action Month and Food Literacy Month, featuring a pasta sauce tasting and competition, live music, dinner, a silent auction, and a raffle. The event benefits both Congregation B’nai David and FoodLink for Tulare County.

WAITER’S RACE

AUG UST BLUES, BREWS & BBQ Friday, August 4 & September 8 Every first Friday of the month, from April through September, Garden Street Plaza is hopping with live music, refreshing brews, and a lot of fun. In August, come see John Clifton Blues Band, and in September, Blue Collar Men will perform a tribute to Styx and the great rock classics. 56 L I F E S T Y L E | J U LY 2 0 1 7

Thursday, September 21, 5-8 p.m. Join the Breakfast Lions Club for another exciting Waiters Race taking place on Main Street in Downtown Visalia. Servers from local restaurants have a chance to win prizes and bragging rights, so come cheer on your favorite waiters and waitresses.

CRUSH PARTY Friday, September 22, 6-9 p.m. The Tulare Chamber of Commerce and the COS Foundation will be holding their 4th annual Crush Party. Join them for tasting local wines, spirits, cheeses, and other delicious eats.

Friday, September 29, 5:30-9:30 p.m. For nearly a decade, Oktoberfest has been one of the largest crowddrawing events in the Central Valley. Enjoy samplings from various restaurants, beer tasting from local breweries, and incredible live entertainment at Vossler Farms.

BOUNTY OF THE COUNTY Friday, September 29, 6-9 p.m. Join the Farm Bureau for their 8th annual Bounty of the County event, where guests will enjoy an evening of culinary bites, delicious drinks, and samples of specialty products, all centered around Tulare County’s number one industry: agriculture! The event will take place at Seven Sycamores Ranch in Ivanhoe.

OCTOBER TASTE OF DOWNTOWN VISALIA Tuesday, October 3, 5:30-8:30 p.m. During the 24th Annual Taste of Downtown, a fabulous community of restaurants open their doors and offer a taste of their favorite menu items. A ticket admits you to all of the participating downtown restaurants, as well as entrance to wine and beer tasting.

FIND ADVENTURE FOOD TRUCK FEST Saturday, October 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Find adventure and feed your face at the second annual Find Adventure Food Truck Fest. The event features food from your favorite local food trucks, music, beer, local art vendors, and more! Proceeds benefit programs and projects in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.


FALL WINE AND DINE FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY Sunday, October 22 Raise a glass in order to help raise a wall as you join Habitat for Humanity at Café 225 in downtown Visalia to raise funds for future building projects.

FOOD DAY WITH FOODLINK FOR TULARE COUNTY Saturday, October 28, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Food Day is a national celebration with a united vision for healthy, affordable, and sustainable food that is produced with a care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it. There will be live cooking demonstrations, workshops, and more.

DECEM BER HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE IN DOWNTOWN VISALIA Thursdays in December Every Thursday evening in December, enjoy exceptional shopping and dining while listening to your favorite holiday tunes from local high school bands. Take a ride on a horse-drawn carriage and take a photo with Santa.

EMPTY BOWLS February, date TBA Empty Bowls is an international project to fight hunger, personalized on a community level. Local sponsors provide hand-crafted bowls and serve a simple meal while guests choose a bowl for their meal and keep it as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world.

MARCH VISALIA IRISH FEST March, date TBA This celebration of craft beer and food takes place at the Visalia Rawhide Ballpark, where guests will sample beer, listen to music, and taste delicious local food.

F E B R UARY SPRING WINE AND DINE FOR HABITAT FOR HUMANITY February, date TBA Raise a glass in order to help raise a wall as you join Habitat for Humanity at Café 225 in downtown Visalia to raise funds for future building projects.

May, date TBA For more than 20 years, the Exeter Lions Club has hosted a successful beer tasting event for members and invited guests. This four-hour event features 100 labels of beer, live music, and complimentary foods.

APRIL BIRDHOUSE AUCTION Friday, April 6 More than a dozen local restaurants participate in this event in support of Habitat for Humanity, where guests enjoy an evening of wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, and a live birdhouse auction.

DOWNTOWN VISALIA EXPO

April, date TBA At this event, support Friends of Tulare Animal Services while enjoying a night of bourbon tasting, cigars, wine, hors d’ oeuvres, silent and live auctions, and more.

Friday, December 8, 5:30-11 p.m. Enjoy an elegant evening of food, wine, and dancing at Visalia’s 37th annual Christmas Tree Auction. This year’s event is a Masquerade themed ball and will support many local nonprofits as guests bid on Christmas trees and silent auction items.

Saturday, May 5, 1 p.m. Join FoodLink for Tulare County for their annual “Party with a Purpose,” where guests sip mint juleps, enjoy delicious hors d’oeuvres, and place bets on horse races, all to support FoodLink’s services.

EXETER BREWFEST

BARKS AND BOURBON

37TH ANNUAL CHRISTMAS TREE AUCTION

KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY FOR FOODLINK

DOWNTOWN VISALIA WINE WALK April, date TBA During the Downtown Visalian’s 7th annual Wine Walk, you will stroll from store-to-store to sample amazing wines, cheeses, chocolate, and flavorful appetizers while listening to live music.

ANNUAL ARMENIAN FOOD FESTIVAL May, date TBA Each year, St. Mary’s Armenian Church of Yettem hosts their Armenian Food Festival at the Visalia Elks Lodge, where guests can experience a taste of Armenia.

JUNE

M AY DOWNTOWN VISALIA FARMERS’ MARKET

May, date TBA This is a fashion, food, and music event, so come enjoy live music, food vendors, wine, and beer at the annual Downtown Expo.

EVENTS

May-September Every Thursday starting in the spring and summer, downtown Visalia hosts a Farmers’ Market with vendors selling local produce, food, and handcrafted goods.

GUEST CHEF SERIES Saturday, June 9 (tentatively) Experience delicious gourmet food and wine while supporting the mission of Family Services of Tulare County. Each year, a guest chef performs a live demonstration of a unique, threecourse menu. Each tasting is paired with a fine wine, followed by dinner catered by The Vintage Press.

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HAPPENINGS

T H E AT R E & A R T S FORM AND FUNCTION EXHIBIT AT ARTS VISALIA In July, the Arts Visalia gallery will present their annual Form and Function 3-D exhibit featuring four local artists: Shirley Crow, Dave Griswold, Buddy Jones, and Brent Mosley. The theme of this year’s 3-D exhibition is the use of recycled and/or repurposed materials. When: Now-July 28, Wed.-Sat., 12-5:30 p.m. Where: Arts Visalia, 214 E. Oak Ave., Visalia Contact: artsvisalia.org

FIRST FRIDAY ART WALK Every month, the Arts Consortium presents First Fridays to explore the Visalia Art District. During the walk, you’ll experience a diverse range of local art in the downtown Visalia area. Check out the website for more information. When: August 4, 5–8 p.m. Where: Arts Consortium, 400 N. Church St., Visalia Contact: artsconsortium.org

SECOND SATURDAY ARTISAN MARKET AT THE LOOKING GLASS From now through October, The Looking Glass in Visalia will be hosting a “Second Saturday” artisan and crafters fair. Come out and enjoy a day of shopping from local crafters. When: August 12, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Where: The Looking Glass, Court and Caldwell in Visalia Contact: thelookingglassvisalia.com

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DIVERSIONS & EXCU R S I O N S BLOOD SWEAT & TEARS AT THE FOX Hands in the Community announces the appearance of legendary performers Blood Sweat & Tears (BST) at the Visalia Fox Theater. BST is the first group to successfully fuse rock, blues, pop music, horn arrangements, and jazz improvisation into a hybrid that came to be known as “jazz-rock.” Some of the band’s memorable hits include: “You Made me so Very Happy,” “Spinning Wheel,” “And When I Die,” and “God Bless the Child.” Seats for the Blood Sweat & Tears concert can be reserved at the website below. When: July 15, 8 p.m. Where: Visalia Fox Theatre, 308 W. Main St., Visalia Contact: foxvisalia.org or call Hands in the Community, 625-3822


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HAPPENINGS

DOWNTOWN VISALIA FARMERS’ MARKET Every Thursday evening this spring and summer, stop by downtown Visalia to shop local at the Farmers Market. Buy fresh produce, plants and flowers, and a variety of goods and handcrafted items. When: Thursdays, now-Sept. 21, 5-8 p.m. Where: Downtown Visalia at Church and Main Streets Contact: visaliafarmersmarket.com

DARK SKY FESTIVAL Come out to the parks for the third annual Dark Sky Festival! Share your passion for the night sky and astronomy during this fun weekend. Special programs will be taking place all weekend, including star programs, telescope demonstrations, and campfire talks. When: July 21-23 Where: Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks Contact: exploresequoiakingscanyon. com

BOOTS, BREWS & BACON FEST The Visalia Convention Center’s inaugural Boots, Brews & Bacon Fest will take place indoors this summer. Festivities will include craft brew tasting, live music from Brandon Pasion and Leaving Austin, local restaurants featuring their best bacon bite, $1,000 cash prize for the best bacon bite as voted by the attendees, and pub games. Partial proceeds will be donated to Visalia’s roller derby team, the V Town Derby Dames. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 at the door. When: July 29, 6-10 p.m. Where: Visalia Convention Center, 303 E. Acequia Ave., Visalia Contact: visaliatix.com or 713-4040

Independence f� a� at Holiday!

BLUES, BREWS & BBQ Come out to downtown Visalia every first Friday of the month for a night of live music, dancing, refreshing brews, and lots of fun. The entertainment on August 4 will be John Clifton Blues Band. Proceeds from this event benefit Visalia Emergency Aid Council. When: August 4, 6-10 p.m. Where: Garden Street Plaza, downtown Visalia Contact: 859-3682

GLOBAL LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AT VISALIA FIRST Experience the Global Leadership Summit, where everyone has influence. During this conference, you’ll hear from more than a dozen successful and captivating leaders from around the globe, who will inspire you toward great leadership. When: August 10-11 Where: Visalia First, 3737 S. Akers St., Visalia Contact: visaliafirst.com/gls or 733-9070

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HAPPENINGS

DOWNTOWN VISALIA BREW FEST Gather your friends together and be ready to taste your favorite beers at Downtown Visalia’s second annual Brew Fest. Come down to the old Lumber Yard at Bridge and Oak Streets to enjoy live music, beer, and fun. A portion of ticket proceeds benefit Assistance League of Visalia. When: September 9, 3-7 p.m. Where: The Old Lumberyard, Bridge and Oak Streets, Visalia Contact: downtownvisalia.com

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C H A R I TA B L E EVENTS

VISALIA MIGHTY OAKS CHORUS 2ND ANNUAL WESTERN ROUNDUP Y’all are invited to attend the Visalia Mighty Oak’s Chorus 2nd annual Western Roundup. The evening includes a full tri-tip BBQ dinner, entertainment by the Visalia Mighty Oaks Chorus and Quartets, and a silent auction.

V TOWN ROLLER DERBY SUMMER SLAM DOUBLEHEADER V Town Roller Derby takes the track against Beach Cities Roller Derby at Roller Towne in Visalia. Doors open at 5 p.m. and wheels roll at 5:30 p.m. with the Darlings taking on the Sea Vixens. Then at 7:30 p.m., the Dames battle it out against the Riptide Rollers. There will be raffle baskets to benefit Valley Oak SPCA. Tickets are only $10 in advance, $12 at the door, and kids 10 and under are always free. Tickets can be purchased at Roller Towne, The Crystal Barn, The Loft Thrift Store (Fresno), from any skater, or from Brown Paper Tickets. When: July 15, 5:30 p.m. Where: Roller Towne, 510 S. Linwood St., Visalia Contact: Email vtownrollerderbydames@ yahoo.com, call 733-8686, or visit vtownderbydames.com

When: August 26, 5-8 p.m. Where: Ritchie Barn, 16338 Ave. 308, Visalia Contact: 901-4615

FOOD FIGHT FOR FAMILIES Join the Visalia Rescue Mission as amateur, local chefs compete for top honors in the cooking competitions. Enjoy delicious food and drinks from local restaurants while entering to win raffle prizes and silent auction items. When: July 16, 3-6 p.m. Where: Wyndham Hotel, 9000 W. Airport Dr., Visalia Contact: vrmhope.org/events

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Lifestyle Magazine - Foodie Issue 2017  

Special Edition Foodie Issue, July 2017 - Style, Art, Culture, and Events of the South Valley.